Is It Better To Drink Tart Cherry Juice Or Take Supplements?

Nothing enhances the flavor of a Coca-Cola or an ice cream sundae quite like a sweet cherry. While these mighty little fruits may hit the spot for those with a sweet tooth, there are also some unique health benefits to be gained in giving tart cherry products a try instead.

"There's no denying the power of tart, it's fundamental to our sense of taste," Stella Parks, deemed one of Food & Wine's 2012 Best New Pastry Chefs, told Montmorency U.S. Tart Cherries. However, tart cherries can be somewhat of an acquired taste, seeing as they give off more of a sour flavor rather than sweet. If you can tolerate the taste though, you'll be receiving a healthy dose of numerous phytonutrients. In fact, in just 1 cup of frozen tart cherries you'll find 0.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, 15 grams of carbohydrates, and one-quarter of your recommended daily intake for vitamin A.

Of course, tart cherry products can come in many forms, including juices and supplements. Between the two, which may be more beneficial for our health?

Who may benefit from tart cherry supplements

Tart cherries harbor antioxidant properties. As a result, they may help improve cardiovascular health, relieve pain and inflammation, reduce oxidative stress, and much more (via Food Network). Not only that, but some research suggests tart cherries may also be beneficial for sleep and keep us snoozing for longer periods of time. This is due to the fact that just 1/3 of a cup of tart cherries is said to contain 0.135 micrograms of melatonin (per Consumer Reports). However, because this is such a minor dosage, impacts on sleep may be minimal.

Even more, tart cherries are thought to support muscle recovery related to exercise. Because supplements can be a great option for those consistently on the go, tart cherry supplements may be a more beneficial choice for busy professional athletes over tart cherry juice. This may be particularly true for athletes focused specifically on muscle-strengthening activities such as weightlifting, according to Riley Beatty Sports Nutrition. Additionally, tart cherry supplements may be the preferred choice for those who are simply not fans of the taste of tart cherry juice.

When tart cherry juice may be a better option

In other cases, however, tart cherry juice may be better suited for athletes who are focused on alternate health goals unrelated to muscle-strengthening. For example, drinking tart cherry juice may help support weight gain or boost energy levels (via Riley Beatty Sports Nutrition). Whether you're a professional athlete or someone just simply interested in reaping the everyday benefits of tart cherries, if you opt for cherry juice, just remember that some liquid products can be packed with sugar. Therefore, your best option is to stick with cherry juice that is free of added sugars.

Ultimately, both tart cherry juice and tart cherry supplements can be beneficial when it comes to our health. Therefore, choose whichever one feels like the best fit based on your specific needs. Either way, however, it's important to stick to the recommended dosage amounts. The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements reports no risks associated with 1/2 quart of tart cherry juice or 480 milligrams of freeze-dried Montmorency tart-cherry-skin powder supplements taken over the course of 14 days. For a more personalized recommendation, consider speaking to your doctor when it comes to deciding on a dosage amount that's right for you.